A couple of days ago ,a headline in our local paper read thusly: Bin Laden killed, America rejoices! I suppose that I failed to get the memo, since I have not felt the urge to jump for joy. I have given a bit of thought to this event since its occurrence and perhaps even more thought to its aftermath. Of course I am not alone in writing about these thoughts. Time magazine already has an issue devoted to all aspects of the event. Hooray for instant journalism. My son has written a thoughtful post about reactions to the killing/assassination that explore among other things the part that revenge plays.
For now I have thoughts that are more political in nature. There has been a significant internal debate in the Obama administration about releasing a photo confirming Bin Laden’s death. Personally it would be quite unseemly to do and many who are calling it a necessity( Sarah Palin for one) remind me of people who cannot avert their eyes from auto accidents or any number of other disasters.
I actually applaud the President’s decision not to release a photo. But what intrigued me was his choice of words in describing the decision. We don’t ”want to spike the football.” Now as a football fan I know to what he refers,as does almost any sports fan. Laying aside the thought that this was an overly casual choice of phrases I infer that he sees no need to gloat and/or overly politicize the event.
Not to worry though. There are other available to carry the water for him in that regard. For example, Barbara Walters says that she would hate to be a Republican running against Obama in 2012. Her sidekick, Joy Behar, said that maybe we should just skip the 2012 election completely, just not even bother. Others such as E J Dionne and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin have voiced or inferred similar sentiments.
After pondering this for a bit it finally hit me. Think back to 1991 just after the end of the Gulf War.George H W Bush is basking the glow of an approval rate of over 90% .The election is just over 18 months away. Game over? Nope. In that instance the state of the economy was arguably the deciding factor. I think that will again be the case. For example gasoline prices are almost 3x higher than they were just over 2 years ago.If there is no discernible change in that number as well as others in the economic realm, anything can happen in 2012 and probably will.
Monday, February 21 is Presidents Day. Ostensibly it is a day set aside to honor two of the greatest, if not the greatest of the 43 men who have served in that office.The 42nd president as we all know was William Jefferson Blythe Clinton from Hope, AR. Mr Clinton has been called many things by friend and foe alike. He may now have acquired the ultimate title, “President of the World.”
Thanks to his new bff, Chris Matthews (alias tingles) , that is the title of a special set to air on Presidents Day. Matthews spent time with Clinton on a veritable whirlwind week chock full of all the wonderful things in which he is involved. I will acknowledge that Mr Clinton has done some very good things since leaving office, partnering with George H W Bush in humanitarian activities, pushed for aid to Haiti, just to name a few. His global initiative has also been quite active.
This program and its title raises a few questions. The title itself may be the most significant. Come on, fellows. No one merits such a designation. Perhaps the title is meant to catch one;s attention or maybe it is just a blatant example of fawning from a network who has done it before. Remember the tingle that ran up a newsman’s leg when a certain president spoke; the same president that he was bound to help succeed. Who was that gentleman? Why the same president often spoke of as the One. Have we changed our allegiances?
Have we turned our back on the individual often called the greatest former preside, Jimmy Carter? He too has been a prolific traveler abroad since leaving office in 1981. He has monitored elections, met with many world leaders and also started the well-known Carter Center in Atlanta.
Now, if were to attempt to compare the two men since they left office, there would be strong similarities. Could the main difference be that along the way Mr Clinton has become quite wealthy and maybe, just maybe seeks out the spotlight a bit more? Bet he’s a lot more fun to travel with as well.By the way, remember that only two of these three presidents have won the Nobel peace Prize. Could this have anything to do with that, Nah!
- The Tingle Is Back! Chris Matthews Excited To See Obama’s Cute, “Wonderful, Boyish Smile” (mediaite.com)
- Chris Matthews Lets Jimmy Carter Blame Loss to Reagan on Third Party Candidate (newsbusters.org)
- MSNBC’s ‘President of the World’ (michellemalkin.com)
Just a few days ago, the president did an interview with Diane Sawyer of ABC. She happens to be one of the very few media people who I will tolerate for any length of time. Anyway, the president said something very interesting. He said that he would rather be a very good one term president than a mediocre two term president. ( Paging Jimmy Carter, at least on the one term part.)
Let’s look at that statement for a moment. First though, a bit of history. Other than the pious Palestinian from Plains, the one term club includes George H W Bush, Herbert Hover and Martin van Buren. Other than Carter, all were denied a second term by economic issues. The panic of 1837 domed Van Buren as he evidently lacked a Rahm( never waste a good crisis) Emanuel to get him through the situation.
The point, which Sawyer did not seem to address, is that no president steps down voluntarily when doing a good job or even a mediocre one. We just do not see voluntary retirements from the Oval Office. Perhaps George Washington I guess, who could have served for life had he been willing. So, what did he mean by his comment? Maybe it was just for effect, along with a later statement that he will continue ” full bore” to tackle the tough issues.
Perhaps it is time for the president to heed the words of an Elvis Presley song-a little less talk , a little more action.
Lots of people are out of work in the US. The unemployment rate remains stubbornly high, around 10% nationally. Harder hit states such as Michigan and California have higher rates than that. Some segments of the work force have really, really high rates. The administration says it is working on the situation, i.e. the stimulus bill among other things. I don’t doubt that they are working on it. Economic issues, bread and butter, you could call them;are probably the make or break issue for a president. Bush 41 never got a handle on the economic difficulties in his one term and it w as probably his downfall.
So, listen to some things had to say about job creation. In Springfield, Va, along with Transportation Secretary LaHood, he said that the administration will explore every avenue possible in their efforts to create jobs and turn around the economy. He was revisiting a palce he had been to in February, the Fairfax County Parkway Extension project. He noted the progress made in those 8 months as a sign we are moving in the right direction.
There are some 8,000 road and bridge projects in the stimulus project, with 5,000 of them underway. We have one here in our area that is ongoing. The President added that his goal was for private jobs to be created as a result of these projects. We shall see.
He made this interesting statement.”…his administration is going to keep going until ‘ every single American in this country who’s looking for work is going to be able to get the kind of well-paying job that supports their families.’ How long would that take- a looonnnnggg time. Maybe even more than two terms if you stop and think about it.
One nagging problem, according to CNNMoney.com, the cost to create i stimulus job is $71,500. Gulp. This figure is arrived at by using White House numbers. Companies receiving $2.2 billion in stimulus money have created 30,383 jobs. Going to have to pick up that pace folks. Remember, FDR’s New Deal probably did not end the Great Depression by itself. There was a significant factor that greatly abetted the process, which no one would wish to repeat.
For all those folks needing work, I hope that the administration’s plan picks up some steam.
Green jobs czar Van Jones has announced his resignation. The White House among others has thanked him for his service. From other areas have come a bit of a different perspective. More on Mr Jones’ departure a little later.
His position in the Administration was one of as many as 30 that could be described as czars. These powerful positions are not subject to the Senate review that say a Cabinet secretary would require. They give a President flexibility and perhaps a way to diffuse power or even short circuit Congress when they feel the need to do so. The idea began with Nixon in the early 70′s which is no surprise. He definitely preferred consolidating power in the White H ouse over the Cabinet which is a perceived benefit of a czar. His first czar was Bill Simon for energy and either the appointment or concept or both provided less than stellar results. Both George H W Bush and Clinton made use of the concept and Bush 43 even got a czar elevated to a Cabinet level position, one Tom Ridge. That is almost a have it both ways deal.
Other Obama czars are Paul Volcker on the economy. Carol Browner on energy, Adolfo Carrrion on urban affairs and Nancy-Ann DeParie on health who has since departed. Soon to be named is a cyber security czar who will actually serve on the National Security Council. That should be an interesting appointment.
So back to Mr Jones . His resignation letter blames his departure on a vicious smear campaign led by one Glenn Beck and being composed of lies and distortions. Apparently Jones has done and said some rather controversial things in years gone by. Among them were comments about school shootings being done by only white students and that he signed a 9/11 truth petition whose content he said was not informed about. FYI, the San Francisco Chronicle and Howard Dean are decrying his departure.
Now for some thoughts. Do I think he should have stepped down? Yep. Was it racial , don’t think so. Could it have been avoided, yep again. Now I know that The Obama folks haven’t taken my advise before. But here goes again. The appointee in this case was either not fully vetted by the administration or he was and that did not care. You gotta know that inflammatory sounding comments such as his will come into public view and White House advisers and nominees have been dumped for much less. Had they been determined on having him serve, appoint him to a position that requres a Senate hearing. Get all this stuff out in the open and deal with it on your terms. Odds of success are much greater.
One more question to ponder and it demands more depth than I can give it now. Does Mr Jones departure indicate that any criticism of major Obama initiatives or opposition to appointees or programs will automatically be deemed as racial in nature? Just wondering.
Periodically but unpredictably there comes an opportunity for a sitting President to have an impact long after his term of office is over. All Presidents do not get this opportunity, some only get it once , other get multiple opportunities. And one tried to create his own opportunity( remember packing the Court?) to influence the future. Yep, we speak of nominating a person to the U S Supreme Court. Mr. Obama now has the chance, early in his term, to make his mark on history. Thanks to Justice David Souter, who is retiring of his own volition, the Court will have a new justice; perhaps by October.
The new justice will be #111 which was an interesting thing to learn, meaning there in considerable overlap on appointments. For example, there are currently 2 justices appointed by Reagan, Clinton, Bush 41, Bush 43 and one by Ford. When the new justice is seated, as a group they will have been nominated by 6 different presidents.
But enough trivia, on to the juicy stuff . Who will be the nominee? The guesses are flying as are the hints and suggestions, both specific and general. Senator Leahy, D, VT wants someone representative of America. There are not enough women or minorities for his preferences. Senator Shelby, R, AL says that even though Obama ( and Biden and Hilary) were against Justices Alito and Roberts, there will be no payback(yeah, right!)
So, a justice who looks like America. Can anyone satisfy the criteria sufficiently knowing they cannot meet all the stipulations. Leahy went on to say that he did not think Obama would select an ideologue while Senator Hatch, R , UT said the choice would likely be a pro-abortion liberal- very possible. Senator Spector(what party is he? ) PA also weighs in on the side of variety, seeming to favor a female Hispanic. He whose opinion will count the most says that he wants someone with a sharp, independent mind. Does that open up the possibilities? Yes, indeed.
Using that phrase as a qualifier, allow m eto toss out some names based primarily on that phrase. No endorsements intended. Feel free to suggest your own, either by comment or on your own.
- Rush Limbaugh
- Hilary Clinton
- Bill Clinton
- The Oprah
- Ann Coulter
- Michele Obama
- Skipper(the penguin)
- Sean Penn
- Jesse Jackson
- George Clooney
- Brad Pitt
- Hugo Chavez (oops, not a citizen)
- Rudy Guliani
- Barbra Streisand
- Saul Alinsky (oops, deceased)
- Sonia Sotomayor
Remember his real keys, identity politics and/or income redistribution. See also how much backbone the Republicans have.
A couple of our former fav Democrats have made some nonsensical statements of late . And as a service to all , I thought I would pass them along for your consideration . First up , Michael (I look funny in a tank ) Dukakis . Slight paraphrase, in referring to the 1988 presidential election, if i had beaten the ” old guy ” we would not be in this situation we are now and ” I’m sorry ” . Guess he means George H W Bush . Secondly , the ancient one, Jimmy Carter; whom I used to refer to as one of our greatest former Presidents . That still may be true if you think of his presidency . Thanks for those gas lines , they were loads of fun . Anyway, he says that he is tired of Mr McCain referring so often to his five and one-half years as a POW . For my money , a man who spent 66 months as prisoner of war camp can refer to it all he wants so let it go Mr Carter . By the way , take any sixty six months of your life and see how it impacted you . Future note , got a post coming soon, I hope on prospective cabinet officers for Mr Obama if he is elected . Hint, no, ok . These two are definite choices , George Clooney and Oprah Winfrey .
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